love thy neighbourhood

breads

My relationship with london changes daily. I’ve been here most of my life from 18 years old.This has only been punctuated by a short move to the Oxfordshire countryside, an art foundation course in Banbury and then art college in Newcastle but apart from that, London is my adopted home.

During the week when I am suffering at the hands of rude and smelly tube users, I loath London and consider it at best a necessary evil. It is at these moments I really wish I could get away.

Even then, I manage to appreciate it’s multi cultural side, the fact that it has EVERYTHING and it gets it first. This is further eased by the fact that I think where we live has a lot going for it and we have the greatest friends most of whom live nearby.

cheese straw

When I’m not fighting with commuters and take the time to see what is around me, I feel much better about the place and I have time to realise that it is just outright splendid.

Take today.

freerange eggs, salami & vine tomatoes

Today has been one of those special days in London for me. I met 2 of my close friends out walking the dog and stretched my usual hour to two hours so I could spend a bit more unexpected time with them. I bumped into one of them again as she was taking her little son to meet friends while JC & I were striding out to enjoy what was on offer at a local Sunday Market. I saw the other friend again while we were at the market but this time with her husband..

breads etcetera

We hadn’t known about the market until we saw a small notice for it on a nearby ‘for sale’ sign and having asked what people thought of it decided we had to give it a try.

It is set in the playground of a local junior school and although the number of stalls there today were diminished due to half term and possibly the sudden turn in the temperature, it was excellent.

carrot cake

We got a fabulous coffee and mini cinnamon swirl to kick start us (we were at a boozy birthday celebration last night and although we weren’t feeling dreadful, coffee and cake always helps). We bought meat direct from a farm on Romney Marshes, italian sausage from a local italian, some amazing flavoured breads, vine tomatoes, eggs, and cake. There was so much more on offer such as cheeses, baked goods, Thai wraps, fish finger sandwiches (yes, fish finger sandwiches!!), jams, pickles, burgers, curries and much, much more.

eggs and salami

The stall holders were all lovely and incredibly chatty which is as much a part of the experience for me as the sampling and buying; the freshness in the air was blessed with sunshine and it really couldn’t have been better.

We won’t abandon our local butcher or the delights of the Green Lanes shops completely but we will be doing a good part of our main meat and veg shopping here every week now. It makes the job of food shopping so much more pleasant and fun.

 

salami, vine toms & duck eggs

It is days like today when I remember that I love london, and I love my neighbourhood!!

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cooking up a storm

Dinner for Dogs

Our little terrier is on a raw diet to keep him fit and well and in an attempt to help with this atopic skin.  Well technically, he’s on immunotherapy injections for his atopic skin but we are always hopeful that another route will prove effective. So to help with this, we feed him a completely unprocessed diet of raw meat and raw veg with added omega 3 & 6 and some vitamins. As close as possible to what he would eat in the wild I suppose. His treats are dried liver or Canine Connoisseur’s natural liver and cheese treats.

I have long been suspicious of shop bought, mass produced dog foods; even those that purport to be holistic, organic or completely natural.

about vegetables

The Furry One (Max to his general public) seems to do ok on his raw diet and we’re hopeful that it helps his poor skin. He certainly seems heathy enough on it and his gnashers are lovely and clean from the bones that form a key part of this diet.  He might get a bit bored with it, even though it is very varied – lamb, beef, venison and oily fish).

Lily’s Kitchen is one of the only processed foods that we consider acceptable for Max. It is a great story of how a range of food and a shop have developed from the need to feed a small Border Terrier a good, gentle and wholesome diet (and it has plenty of vegetables in it).

white flesh sweet potatoes and carrots chopped and ready for the pot

Like all small but developing businesses that are bound to succeed, Lily’s Kitchen was born of care and passion. Lily, who is the Border Terrier, wasn’t eating so Henrietta Morrison, who is her loving and owner, started feeding her home made food. All based on sound nutritional information, a range of tinned foods and dry treats evolved.

Max LOVES Lily’s Kitchen food. I can’t remember how we found out about Lily’s Kitchen but we’ve been fans for as long as I ever knew it existed and eventually our vet was selling Lily’s food so Max has benefitted quite a bit from it and it is our default food if raw isn’t possible.

Imagine my delight when an email from Amazon popped into my in box with a recommendation for a book that I might find interesting – Lily’s Kitchen Dinners for Dogs. A guide to good eating for dogs and a collection of recipes to try.

kibble spread onto baking parchment ready for baking

We ordered it immediately and it arrived in time for us to ‘digest’ it before the weekend. After a farmers market shop and a busy day, I started cooking from the recipes last night.

They all sound so tasty (good enough to eat!!!) that picking one alone is almost impossible. So, I made it easy on myself and started at the beginning which meant the Kibble.

Lily’s kibble

Kibble is potentially one of the worst processed foods on the market as it often contains salt, meat derivatives and goodness knows what else to fill our poor dog’s tummies. A potentially great source of nutrition and fuel but it can be so damaging if it isn’t right.

That Max likes Lily’s Kitchen food isn’t being tested here but my cooking IS so I was hoping that all my efforts wouldn’t be wasted since he is now very accustomed to his raw diet!!!!

Wonderful One Pot ingredients waiting for the meat and the blueberries

Why was I concerned? There is obviously a built in ‘success’ ingredient in every single recipe and I got my first inckling of this when Max started hanging around the kitchen door while I was preparing. As I started cooking, he crept closer and became a real nuisance as he was completely under my feet. Eternal optimism is one of the things I love so much about dogs!!

Wonderful One Pot ready to eat

The kibble recipe IS incredibly tasty, I know, I’ve tasted it.   There is nothing added to give it flavour like we would do with salt etc. The ingredients are simply what make it delicious. Not to leave Max’s vigilance and hopeful loitering unrewarded, I gave him a little of the kibble mix before it was baked and he just about licked off my fingerprints before he was happy that he’d got all that was on offer! A success so far, I was hopeful that baking it wouldn’t change his enjoyment of it.

On a roll, I decided to do the Wonderful One Pot dish too!

a blueberry left in the bowl…….

He had the Wonderful One Pot for his breakfast this morning and loved it. There was a moment when the blueberry was left behind but after a rethink, down it went!!

An all round canine culinary success and we have about 10 days worth of food for Max as well as a biscuit tin of kibble that we will use for treats on his walks.

When these have all been eaten up, we will try some of the other recipes but in the meantime, thank you very much Lily and Henrietta.